Sunday, July 7, 2013

2013 Season Countdown: #53 Joey Burzynski

Joe Burzynski (#56)
Name: Joey Burzynski
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 291 lbs.
High school: Carlsbad (CA) Carlsbad
Position: Offensive guard
Class: Redshirt junior
Jersey number: #56
Last year: I ranked Burzynski #31 and said he would be a backup left guard. He played in eight games as a backup offensive guard.

Burzynski started in the 2012 spring game and caused some people to get excited/upset because a walk-on was starting on the offensive line. But when the season began, Burzynski was back to watching from the sideline while Ricky Barnum and Patrick Omameh started. The walk-on was a primary backup offensive guard, but luckily, the offensive line remained mostly injury-free last year and Burzynski wasn't needed in crunch time.

He will always be a little bit short, and he's a little bit light at 291 lbs. He seems to have fallen behind some younger scholarship guys, and redshirt sophomore Graham Glasgow has been getting mentioned as a possible player at center, but not Burzynski. He has snapped the ball in the past and could be an emergency option there. He could still see some playing time as a backup or if there are injuries at the interior positions, but he's not a viable option for a team that hopes to compete for the Big Ten championship.

Prediction: Backup offensive guard


  1. He may not be a world beater or even a viable starter. But I love the depth that this staff is developing along the lines.

    1. That's the key - they're 'developing' it. Going to be a couple years before that development pays off in the form of an OL that we can really rely on to build the power-running offense this staff wants.

  2. Lets hope Joey doesn't see the field this year!

  3. Crazy low for a guy who was the 6th linemen last year and may start this year. Michigan can't afford injuries along the OL.

    1. May start this year? if there are 3 injuries on the interior line he may be thrown in. Not until then.

    2. I believe it was you who knocked Jack Miller for being unable to beat out Elliott Mealer, yet you're in support of Joe Burzynski, who was heavier and a year older than Miller at the time. And Burzynski has experience at C and OG. That doesn't really make sense.

    3. If you ranked Miller in the 50's I'd quibble with that too. I don't see any logical inconsistency. If people were arguing, like they are with Miller, that Burzynski was a near-lock to start and going to give us an upgrade to Mealer, I'd react the same way.

      The OL picture is this: only 2 players with experience return and they are both slotted for tackle. Nearly everyone is high on three young red-shirts (Kalis, Braden, and to a lesser extent Miller) but beyond the projected starting lineup, no one else has emerged to be above walk-ons like Burzynski. The coaches trusted him to play last year ahead of Miller, and while that may have changed, Burzynski's role and importance is probably bigger this year than last.

      He's the 3rd most experienced linemen on the team. He's either the 6th or 7th man on the OL and this year the OL is less reliable and proven than last. Furthermore, chances are that last year's injury-free season won't repeat itself - so I'd guess you'll see Burzynski start at some point unless people like Bryant or Magnuson really accelerate their development or Glasgow clearly outplays him.

      It's worth remembering that the coaches desires and projections don't always pan out. Last year, they spent all offseason talking positively about Barnum at OC -- that didn't work out at all. The same may occur with Braden or Miller this year, and the guy most likely to step in if one of those two falters is the veteran walk-on. A top backup at a position where the starters are uncertain is generally someone worth ranking in the 30s, even if it's a walk-on with limited upside.

    4. I believe it was you who just commented on the Justice Hayes post that you view this list - like I do - as "How badly would Michigan be hurt if this player got injured?" Considering Kalis, Braden, Bryant, Miller, Bosch, etc., I ask you this:

      How badly would Michigan be hurt if Burzynski got injured? Even if he's one of the best five linemen, there's probably not much of a drop-off between him and Kalis, Braden, etc. Thus the ranking at #53.

    5. Very much disagree with that argument. Of course there isn't a dropoff to Kalis - Kalis is the presumed starter and even if Burzynski beat him (or Braden) out, it would presumably be pretty close. But I'm going to guess you're putting Kalis and Braden much much higher on this list (and rightfully so.)

      Burzynski is, as you've argued, a likely backup (the coaches have said as much). However, he's an extremely important one because he is probably the top backup across 5 positions. One injury at any of the 5 positions and Burzynski is probably a starter. The dropoff to the next guy (Glasgow) is probably not huge, but after that you're talking about thrusting someone like Bryant or Magnuson into the lineup and that could be an option that causes major problems for Michigan.

      IMO, Burzynski is one of the most important backups on the team. Guys like Ash and Hayes - they're 4th stringers at positions where true freshman can easily help. Houma is a top backup, but at an unimportant position. Bryant hasn't shown he is a functional player. McCray, Cleary, Poole -- these guys are extremely unlikely to see any meaningful action. Burzyinski is vying for a starting spot and a lock for the 2-deep. We're talking about very different situations here.

      I will say this about Burzynski - as a walk-on ahead of some highly regarded young talent, he's someone who is poised to be surpassed. He likely already has been by Kalis, Braden, and Miller, and maybe others will follow. However, the status of those guys passing him are tenuous and until those others emerge Burzynski is in a pretty prominent role, walk-on or not. If you're one of the top 6 or 7 linemen - you matter.

    6. I think Bryant and Bosch would be an improvement from Burzynski. I think Glasgow is on par with him, and I think Bars or Magnuson wouldn't be much of a drop off. None of those players I just mentioned are starters, and there are 5 of them.

      I feel better about the line this year than I did last year. Next year I'll feel about the same as this year with pretty good depth of RS Sophomores and RS Freshmen, with Miller and Bryant in the mix. Then the year after that with the super classes Hoke has been pulling in, it's all going to be butter.


    7. @ Lankownia

      That's fine if you think Burzynski is OL #6. Now let's talk about the dropoff from him to guys like Glasgow, Bryant, Bosch, Magnuson, etc. How much of a difference is there? Just because he's the next guy in doesn't mean he's very important for this year's success.

    8. Guess we'll see. I think the drop to Bryant and Magnuson would be significant. Burzynski has proven he can play - those guys haven't and the buzz has not been positive.

      As for Bosch - it is most likely that he red-shirts, so I don't think he factors into the discussion much unless there are numerous injuries. Bosch either starts or he red-shirts, no in-between.

  4. Let me put this another way. The odds of linemen starting the first game are something like this:

    Lewan 99%
    Schofield 98%
    Kalis 80%
    Braden 75%
    Miller 70%

    Why not 100 for each? Injury, off-field issues, or simply getting outplayed. I think, if anything, that estimate is pretty optimistic for Kalis and Braden, given that they haven't played a down of college football yet. It may even be optimistic for Miller, who seemed to be behind Burzynski last year. The coaches have made it clear what they want to see happen, but that may not reflect reality.

    If you buy the above math, that leaves more than a 75% chance that "Other" starts. I think "Other" is led by Burzynski, but it could be Glasgow too. It could even be both.

    Furthermore, those are just numbers for Game 1. The odds that those guys start every game of the season are significantly lower. I would say it's extremely likely that someone starts a game this season other than Lewan, Schofield, Braden, Kalis, and Miller. If it's just those 5 all year, we can count ourselves as very very lucky.

    I don't expect Burzynski to start - I'd put the likelihood at around 25% (others: 20% Glasgow, 5%Kugler, 5% Bosch, 5% Bryant, etc) but it wouldn't surprise me at all to hear he beat out Miller or Braden to start the year off.

    1. That's the Lankownia we all know and love: Completely wrong! Why Lewan would have a higher percentage than Schofield befuddles me. The only thing that is stopping either of those two from starting is an injury. No underclassmen are passing either of them. Are you saying Schofield is two times more injury prone than Lewan?

    2. If both Glasgow and Byrzinski start, we're in serious, serious trouble.

    3. @Thunder
      I think there's a decent chance we're in serious trouble, even if those two don't...but, yeah.

      @Anon 2:32
      Good point. I put Lewan 1% higher because he's better, been starting longer, and proven to be durable for longer, but it's a fair quibble. They should both be at 99% because even on the off chance Schofield is passed over at tackle by some frosh, he'd probably start at guard. Adjust my rough math by 1%.